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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Laresio Lakeside Resort and Spa in Los Banos, Laguna

The Summer of 2016 has arrived!

My first summer dip was a blast! It was a different kind of thrill compared to my usual beach bumming. An exhilarating splash in the invigorating fresh water below the northeastern slope of  the enchanted Mount Maria Makiling in Laguna, was one helluva fun experience!

The Alligator Lake is located in the Hot Springs Resort Town of Los Banos, Laguna. The slightly elevated, and oval-shaped crater lake that has no outlet and replenished only by rainfall is 22.7 ha (56 acres) in surface area with a perimeter of about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 mi). According to Wikipedia, it has an average depth of 27 meters (89 ft) so swimming is not recommended because of its deepness and the sudden drop along its shoreline. But it has been transformed into a fun-filled and immensely exciting yet safe activity area called the Laresio Lakeside Resort and Spa!

An FB private event invite was sent to me and other office mates by the organizer. I then searched for blog reviews and YouTube video clips, and was immediately sold on the idea of  a "Summer Scream Extreme 2016!" Originally, the date was set on March 5-6 but was later on moved to March 12-13, to accommodate more participants. The final head count was a squad of 15 fun-crazed peeps!

Author's note: Photo and video credits to all contributors (you know who you are, thanks!)

The Beautiful Squad has arrived and they owned the place! (one still OTW when this picture was taken!)

First Batch!

Laresio Lakeside Resort and Spa, Los Banos, Laguna

We converged at around 12 noon that Saturday at our workplace in Mc Kinley Hill, Taguig City. The travel time to our destination would have only been an hour or so, if we didn't stop for lunch. But everyone needed an extra boost of energy to make it through after a "hard-day's night" shift, except for some who filed for a time off prior to the event to set the mind and body up for the challenge ahead.

Starting point! Mc Kinley Hill, Taguig City!

Loading up!

We checked in at around 3 PM and immediately changed to our swim wears! We got 3 big rooms enough to house the group for an over-night stay! The rooms and T&Bs were satisfyingly clean and the A/Cs worked its magic against the summer heat! Off we marched to the activity area to gauge its intensity.

The climbing wall was too narrow and not very high. The land zip line was also unimpressive because it was too low and would pass along parked cars. However, a long zip line across the span of the lake was under repair/construction, at the time. This would be a good reason to go back to the place, once operational!

We then, moved into the main entrance, toward the lakeside where all the laughters, cheers and squeals were coming from... and my oh my, we were not disappointed! Adrenaline rush!

There was only a handful of people queued at the 32 ft cliff dive, the highest jump in Laresio. Of those lined up, only 3 actually jumped into the water. The rest just fidgeted at the edge of the board and hand clasped the rail for a few minutes then finally decided to retreat and descend via stairs. In our group, 5 of the bravest leaped and plunged without blinking! Two of them were girls!

To those who want to try out first the "feels," you may want to test jump off the 13 ft cliff dive with your life vest on before going for the 32 ft high dive. Wearing of life vest is not recommended on the 32 ft dive due to its resistance upon impact, that may hurt.

One of the bravest girls I ever knew! Put your hands up in the air!

No fear! So fierce!

The "Slip and Fly" was a favorite! It was a long slide with a slow descent start that would gain speed midway and glide on a slightly upward slope at the bottom to give one a good lift before finally throwing the rider out in the water! My first Slip and Fly was in a lying position with my hands clasped together on top of my belly in prayer and my eyes tightly shut! I heard my heart pounding as I slide down and before I knew it I was up in the air, pupils dilated for a second or two before I finally hit the warm lake water! I resurfaced immediately and was thrown a lifebuoy ring tied with a rope then was pulled onto the perimeter bamboo float! It was a real blast... abrupt and explosive! A second ride was imminent... but the next one, I made sure to sit up straight with my eyes widely open! Wooohh!

Before the plunge! Scream, Hell Yeahhh!!!

First time on the "Slip and Fly" long slide!

Sitting up straight with eyes widely open on the 2nd try! Woooh!

The "Slip and Dip" slide was shorter but much wider. Instructors were stationed at the top to advise the guests to stretch out and cross their legs, put their arms around the shoulders, keep still and try not to fight the downward slide to avoid landing in the water sideways. Some of my friends tried it and yep, they landed not so straight. Ouch!

Another favorite was the "Vine Swing" or trapeze! The instructor told me to grip the handle bar tightly and slightly bend my knees then swing and let go! It was a quick and nice drop! However, the salbabida (floater) was thrown a bit delayed by the lifeguard who was sunset gazing. I shouted "Kuya, kuya!"("Brother, brother!") to get his attention and he eventually managed to pull me up on the perimeter bamboo float. Nevertheless, it was an awesome ride I enjoyed tremendously!

You can hang on... or let go... or even fall hard... 
but never forget to breathe and LIVE!

One couple from our group was supposed to go kayaking before dinner but was not allowed because the resort's neon orange wristbands they were wearing indicated that this activity was not included in the package. The organizer, together with this blogger and another friend, immediately went to the reception office to clarify the issue. Good thing that the thread of private messages prior to the reservation was saved by the organizer to show proof that the package we were interested in buying was inclusive of all activities, accommodations and amenities offered by the resort and they gave the quotation for the requested service. The receptionists consulted with their supervisors and went back with 15 fuchsia pink wristbands that would allow us to use the paddle boards and the balsa (bamboo raft) but not the climbing wall and land zip line. This was not the deal that we paid for but since we were not impressed with the two latter features anyway, we agreed to compromise.

Strong friendships that last a lifetime are bonded with beautiful memories! :)

All afternoon there was an upbeat, club mix music played by a lady DJ that kept the good vibe! All extreme activities stopped at 6 PM for security purposes. Then, it was Dinner Time! We ordered a big Maya-Maya (Red Snapper) fresh from the lake, Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled pork belly) with ensalada (green mangoes, onions and tomatoes salad). While waiting for our food to be served,  we munched on the seasonal fruits that we bought from the hi-way vendors together with a few bottles of beer and soda.

The girls enjoying the hot spring water while listening to cool club mixes played by a lady DJ.
Munching on turnips and green mangoes with shrimp paste dip while waiting for our dinner to be served.

We thought that the club mix music that we enjoyed in the afternoon would extend through the night but since it was a Saturday, a band played for the guests. Although I must say, not a good one and the squad unanimously agreed that a cool, piped-in music would have been the better and preferred entertainment. The band's "first set" ended and yet the food we ordered had not been served yet. The sleep-deprived, activity worn-out and extremely hungry crew patiently waited; while they watched in excruciating pain, the much worse performance of two stand-up comedians who did their crass act in front of some children. The food finally arrived after almost 2 hours!

A dance routine

Laresio at night

Hungry but still smiling! :)

She made it to Laresio! :)

As usual, I woke up early to catch a glimpse and take a snapshot of the rising sun... this time, in Los Banos, Laguna. At 4:30 AM there were already cleaners doing their tasks. The morning staff members were polite and greeted the early birds a good morning. I went straight to the "kitchen" to order coffee but there was none available yet so I had to get out and buy from a small convenient store.

Morning breakfast was also served in the same manner... very late! But the sun was shining beautifully so we did not let this affect our good mood.  We passed the time by enjoying the sight of  the calm lake, glistening in emerald green from the rays of the rising sun seeping through the sea of white cottony clouds while the birds flew in flocks... perfect for selfie and groupie moments! LOL!

Break of Dawn

Good Morning, Laguna!

Beautiful morning smiles!

The early birds that caught the peeping rising sun!
So breakfast ready, already! :P

After securing our life vests and paddles, off we went for kayaking! I was lucky that my rowing buddy was a native of one of the beautiful islands in the Province of Bohol! Raised by the seaside, swimming came naturally to him as well as canoeing and even fishing! He said he missed his hometown and kayaking at Laresio reminded him of childhood happy memories. We were able to easily traverse the expanse of the Alligator Lake while exchanging funny childhood stories while he rowed and I sun bathed haha!

With my Boholano rowing buddy!

Life is good!

Lastly, the group rode a Balsa (Bamboo raft) manually pulled by two thin, yet surprisingly strong, young men. They pulled from a thick rope that was tied from one end of the lake to the other. We were probably around 30 guests aboard the balsa, I could just imagine the heavy load! When we reached the other side of the lake we rested for awhile and again took some more pictures!

Awesomely beautiful people on board!
These peeps can't help but dip in the lake! Look at those gorgeously tanned, smiling faces!

Hello... from the other side!
Hmnn... nice picnic area too!
The campsite, great for team building activities!

The place has some identified opportunities for improvement, but overall, the Laresio Lakeside Resort and Spa is a safe and good recreational place recommended by this blogger especially to the adventurous and thrill-seeking travelers.

See you again soon, Laresio!


  1. Really nice blog sweetie!! Keep blogging. Mine's still on the process :)

    1. Thanks for organizing this event, Sweetie! Looking forward to more fun travels with the Beautiful Squad! :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Excited to read your post on our Laresio Trip, Sweetie!